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January 29, 1998 - Image 21

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1998-01-29

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The Michigan Daily Weekend

12B - The Michigan Daily Weeker
1BState of the Arts
WIL
It's that time of the week, kids. Time
for another editorial about the scandal
that's rocking the pants off the country.
dividing loyalties and shaping opinions.
No, not that scandal -- the one
you're not hearing much about, the one
that's relegated to the back page with
the Pope in Cuba and the Roe v Wade
anniversary. You know, the life-altering
scandal involving "Ally McBeal."
Second only to the Spice Girls -or
perhaps Monica Lewinsky -- as the
spunky love-her-or-hate-her lass of the
moment, "Ally McBeal" is creating
quite a little controversy for herself,
sparking some to hail her as a hero, oth-
ers to call her offensive, and everyone

i Magazine - Thursday, January 29, 1998
L THE REAL 'MCBEAL PLEASE STAND UP?

Local galleries are treasure troves
for Ann Arbor art aficionados

to see her chipper mug on three major
magazine covers.
What, you may ask, is all the fuss
about?
Let's go back in time to September
1997, when "Ally McBeal," an hour-
long comedy with a strong leading
character whose every thought is dis-
played onscreen, premiered on Fox as
little more than an ingenious piece of'
female-friendly counter-programming
pitted up against manly "Monday Night
Football."
Telling the tale of one beautiful, con-
fused Boston lawyer, "Ally," starring
Calista Flockhart as the titular spunk
machine, quickly became a phenome-

non with the desirable 18-40 age demo-
graphic for its witty. surreal take on life.,
love and the law.
The show has spawned
numerous fan Websites, as
any good pop phenom does
these days, allowing millions
to regurgitate such thought-
provoking or gag-inducing:
-- depending on your opin-
ion - Ally-isms as
"Sometimes I wish I were a
street person, cut off from the
rest of the world. But then I Bryan L
wouldn't get to wear my out- Daily Ar
fits."
It is this irreverence, paired with a
crack comic ensemble, impeccable
writing and clever visual gimmicks.
that has made "Ally" a hit with its tar-
get market since its debut four months
ago.
But it is exactly that target market,
paired with Ally's inherent dependence
on men and incessant sporting of

ar
ts

Locklear-esque microminis. that has
ignited the "Ally" backlash.
Spearheaded by the National
Organization for Women
(NOW). the "Repeal
McBeal" movement, as I
call it, blasts the show for
being unrealistic, sexist and
wholly detrimental to the
image of women in the '90s.
Coalitions of female lawyers
are springing up all over,
pronouncing that no serious
k professional would ever
Editor wear a skirt that short.
But many, including
myself, actually have found Allys in the
real world. This literal interpretation of
the show irks "Ally"'s detractors.
The centerpiece of NOW's grievance
is a November episode that featured
Ally, in a sensuous close-up, schooling
fellow beautiful. confused Boston
lawyer Georgia (Courtney Thorne-
Smith) in the ways of seductive cappuc-

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cino consumption: "See that foam, now
lick it off'. NOW singles out the
scene as a representation of the show's
rampant objectification of women, a
pretty face on an unattainable male fan-
tasv.
In fact. "Ally McBeal" is a male fan-
tasy. Its creator, David E. Kelley is -
hold on to your hats, radicals - a man!
Or at least I hope he is for wife
Michelle Pfeiffei's sake.
But just because Kelley is male does-
n't automatically mean he's sexist.
Some of the greatest female characters
in history have been created by men.
Joe Eszterhas, for example.
In further defense of "Ally," let me
again stress that the show is a fantasy.
Would you see a dancing transparent
baby in a real law office? Would a real
law office have a coed restroom where
most important events occur? Would a
real lawyer maliciously trip a woman
for taking the last jar of Pringles? All
right, so that could happen.
Still. "Ally" should be taken at face
value. It's a TV show, after all. I'm sure
Kelley would agree that Ally is not rep-
resentative of every lawyer out there,
Just as I would insist that the complex,
soap-operatic "Ally" is not representa-
tive of the state of TV right now -- it's
actually worth watchin.
So, which is the real "McBeal"? The
hilarious new reason to watch TV on
Monday since Elway ushered out the
football season'? Or the destructive
force that will impede the progress of
women in this country?
This real "McBeal" dilemma is the
issue currently dividing the popular
conscience of the nation It's comfort-
ing to kno We\ e got our priorities
straight.
Now , \what s this you say about the
Pope'? Never mind there are some
5-year-olds having sex on "Dawson's
Creek.'' ow scandalous.
Bryan Lar wil/ trip jou or jar of
Ping and (/ can be reached at
hlark(ciiunich edu.
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Etiow

By Caryn Burtt
Daily Arts Writer
The "Monet at Wtheuil" exhibit
recently opened at the University's
MuIuseum of Art and its much-celebrated
arrival has brought many Ann Arbor
residents to the Museum to observe
firsthand the works of one of the
world's most respected landscape
artists. As the Museum of Art is graced
with the powerful presence of Claude
Monet, the eves and cultural sensitivi-
ties of many Ann Arbor residents will
no doubt yearn to partake of more art
displays and exhibitions in the area.
Luckily. Ann Arbor happens to have a
wealth of hidden art treasures. The
dow\ ntown *area, as well as Kerrvtown
and neighboring locations, offers many
art ualleries in which to quell one's
artistic yea'nings.
The Artful Exchange Gallery, Ann
Arbor's oldest downtown gallery, was
created about 10 years ago. It is a quaint
showcase for nationally known "mas-
ters" and local artists, featuring paint-
ings. sculpture, 1lithographs and jewelry.
The owner. Judy Croxton, receives all
the artwork by consignment; artists
brinm their work to the gallery to exhib-

it, and the gallery gets a percentage of
the profit when the works sell.
Consignment allows for some versatili-
ty in the gallery's displays because if the
work doesn't sell, the owner is free to
return it and accept different pieces
instead.
"Judy picks and chooses things that
would enhance the gallery," said Mary
Roeser, an Artful Exchange employee.
"It doesn't have to be necessarily good.
She decides whether or not it will sell in
Ann Arbor in 1998."
The paintings that decorate every
inch of the gallery include works by
James Whistler and Joan Mir6, as well
as by Al Mullen, Frank Cassara,
Richard Wilt and Emil Weddige.
Perhaps the last four are not quite as
well known as Whistler and Mir6: they
were all professors of art at the
University. The professors' works
make up a substantial part of the
gallery. and gallery-goers are inspired
to silently praise the University's
School of Art when they see such mas-
terful paintings.
Barclay's exists in rather sharp the-
matic contrast to the Artful Exchange
Gallery. Its showcase on Main Street

features paintings, sculptures, pottery,
African masks and even a collection of
swords from the Civil War era. The art-
work is from around the world,
although Asia, Africa, Egypt and Italy
are particularly represented. The origins
of the works are impressive enough, but
the paintings' ages are equally astound-
inig.
"We deal with no local artists," said
Barclay's owner William Fagan.
"Actually. we deal with no living
artists."
Some of the Italian artifacts at the
gallery date back to the 8th Century B.C.
Japanese woodblock prints, which also
are rare antiques, decorate the walls.
Interspersed in this time capsule of
the ancient world are works from times
as recent as the 1930s. Fortune maga-
zine's 1930s covers, conveying the age
of industry with images of airplanes.
trains and highways, are displayed to
contrast the primitive artifacts in much
of the gallery.
Specializing in similarly ancient art-
work is the Kwanzaa House Gallery.
also located on Main Street. The
gallery, run by Shirley Jenkins-Phelps.
celebrates African American and
African artwork. It offers the art con-
noisseur ancient beads, from Nigeria.
Angola, South Africa, Tanzania and the
Caribbean, which were used for trade
with Europeans.
The gallery also contains African
sculpture. which ranges in size from
half a foot to about five feet tall, as wel
as African dolls, masks, kente cloth.
and necklaces made from amber and
bone.
"We like to move pieces around and
always make it interesting," said
Elizabeth Moldenhauer, who manages
one of the two Selo/Shevel galleries.
"We have a display artist, so the gallery
always looks different."
The Ann Arbor Art Center is proba-
bly the best-known art gallery in the
area. due to its frequent exhibits and art

Judy Croxton, owner of the
class offerings. Adults can
in painting, fiber and texti
and the like, or learn to pai
the Center's pottery-paini
dum. Feat of Clay. Childrn
into ArtVentures at anytim(
their own pieces of artwork
The center's gallery is
artists' and Great Lakes ai

Exploring some of the city's galleries:
Q Ann Arbor Art Center, 117 W. Liberty St. 994-8004.
0 Artful Exchange Gallery, 215 E. Washington Ave. 761-2287.
4 Barclay's Gallery, 218 S. Main St. 663-2900.
0 Doug Price Photographs. 113 W. Liberty St. 995-1981.
0 Feat of Clay, 305 S. Ashley St. 327-9552.
0 Kwanzaa House Gallery, 122 S. Main St. 213-1900.
O Selo-Shevel Gallery, 335 S. Main St. 761-6263.
0 Selo-Shevel Gallery at Uberty, 301 S. Main St. 761-4620.

are showcased.
The gallery is
used for
monthly art
exhibits, such
as February's
E x q i i s i t e
C o r p S e
Collection.
S h a r o n
Curry, director
of the Center,
"decides if an
artist's work is

mmwldmm

" We
if w
Iocal
we ,
artis

...

1

going to

AP PHOTO
Sexist pigs, The cast of "Ally McBeal" escapes controversy at the Golden Globes.
The Office of Academic Multicultural Initiatives
is now taking applications for
Student Leaders
for the King/Chavez/Parks
College Day Spring Visitation Program
Application Deadline is February 6,1998
Student leaders accompany visiting middle school
students throughout the day serving as guides
and role models while providing information about
the college experience. We are looking for
outgoing individuals who are committed to helping
students who are traditionally underrepresented in
higher education. Many positions are available, and
scheduling can be flexible.
Applications and job descriptions can be obtained at
The Office of Academic Multicultural Initiatives
3009 Student Activities Building.
For additional information please call
S936-1~55

said Natalie Harmon, an
employee. Curry also de<
else in Ann Arbor to
Center's work, and pieces
gallery have turned up at
Espresso Royale Cafe.
Art "definitely livens up
affects how long people
Yvette Harden, a first-yea
Washtenaw Community (

READ DAILY ARTS
http://www. pub.umich.edu/dai/y/

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Shaman I
B OO K SH

311-315 S. State 1 662-7407 1 Mon-Sat
http://www.shamandrum.com Most I
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